Report of the Summer ABA Board Meeting

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The ABA Board held its summer meeting at the association's headquarters in Tarrytown, New York, from July 12-14. In addition, the ABA Strategic Planning Committee met in Tarrytown on Friday, July 12. Together with the members of the ABA Board, the committee includes two non-Board members, currently Timothy Huggins of Newtonville Books in Newton, Massachusetts, and Fran Keilty of Atticus Bookstore in Middletown and New Haven, Connecticut.

On Friday, the Strategic Planning Committee reviewed the proposed new association strategic plan. The plan was approved by the ABA Board the next day.

Under the new strategic plan, the association's four goals are:

  • Goal I: To provide independent professional booksellers with access to the education, information, and business services they need to succeed in a changing world.
  • Goal II: To serve as the voice of independent professional booksellers and advocate on their behalf on issues such as free expression, trade practices, literacy, and community activism.
  • Goal III: To promote the value of independent booksellers as a group through Book Sense and other cooperative activities.
  • Goal IV: To foster development of new and enhanced business models, systems, and services.

ABA President Ann Christophersen noted to Bookselling This Week that the new goals reflected a slight change in the association's strategic priorities -- notably that education and business services had received an enhanced priority and that, because of its increased importance, the Book Sense program had itself become an articulated goal in the strategic plan.

In the coming weeks, a full report on the new strategic plan, which will detail the plan's goals and objectives and will include a special update from Christophersen, will be mailed to ABA bookstore members.

"In our review and discussion of ABA programs, it was apparent that the value of Book Sense continues to grow, as more consumers are exposed to the different facets of the program, especially the Book Sense 76," said Christophersen. "I know that the 76 in-store displays have played an especially vital role in the program, both in selling more books and in demonstrating to publishers that booksellers are indeed taking Book Sense seriously and giving recommended titles more display space in stores."

While the new plan covers a five-year time frame, it will be reviewed annually by the Board. In addition, recognizing the increasing pace of change within the business environment, the Board noted that the overall plan could be revisited before 2007 if necessary.

In other business at its meeting, the ABA Board:

  • Heard reports from ABA President Ann Christophersen and ABA CEO Avin Mark Domnitz.
  • Received a full report on Book Sense from Michael Hoynes, ABA marketing officer; Carl Lennertz, senior marketing consultant; Jill Perlstein, Book Sense director of marketing services; Mark Nichols, publisher partner manager; and Len Vlahos, director of
  • Heard a report on the launch of the ABA Book Buyer's Handbook online and Bookselling This Week from Dan Cullen, director of ABA's information department.
  • Discussed plans for ABA participation in the regional fall trade shows.
  • Met with American Library Association President Maurice J. Freedman, director of the Westchester (New York) Library System, to discuss how bookstores and libraries might better work together.
  • Met with William King of Merrill Lynch to review ABA's investment portfolio.